Great, Lance Stephenson Is Learning Lessons. Happy Now?


Lance Stephenson, whose awful words were the sole reason that great basketball player LeBron James played great basketball in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, isn’t going to talk anymore.

And that’s smart. Because back in 2007, Lance Stephenson once told me that he didn’t like the color of my shoes, and the next day, I built a full-size, solar-powered helicopter out of a rusty curling iron, and then I bit Rampage Jackson’s ear off.

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If Your Story Is True, Robert Mathis, Then You’ve Won

The back-and-forth between Robert Mathis and the NFL’s drug police continued today, with Mathis’s agent complaining anew about the NFL releasing a statement in response to a prior statement from Mr. Agent.

As much as I love a good press release battle, I don’t wanna get into the details because they don’t matter. Here’s the short version: Mathis got suspended four games for using a banned substance, and he said, “It was a fertility drug and all I wanted was to knock my old lady up.” And the NFL said, “Whatever, you’re still suspended,” and Mathis said, “Not cool, NFL,” and today, the NFL said, “Well, we’re doing it anyway.”

Which is perfectly within their rights, because it’s not like they can just start taking an athlete’s word for it when it comes to a failed drug test. If he lets this go, does Roger Goodell really want 32 Seattle Seahawks at his door every morning claiming low sperm counts?

In arguing against the suspension, Mathis doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. And if the fertility story is true, who’s to say it didn’t also help his on-field performance? Clomid, the drug in question, is a testosterone-boosting – ah, here I am getting into the details of it. Again – doesn’t matter.

If Mathis was truly just trying to get past conception issues, then he comes out way ahead. He took the drug, he gets the child he and his wife so desperately wanted, and it cost him four weeks of football -- four weeks of body-destroying football, which, incidentally, won’t do him any favors in his march toward to being a lucid, coherent, able-bodied father his NFL days are past him.

Lifetime of baby vs. one quarter of an NFL regular season. For a guy who desperately wanted to conceive, you’d think that trade-off would be alright. Celebrate, man. Instead of asking for special treatment because, what – you’re nice? – say you took the drug, it was worth it, and you’d do it again, because some things are more important than football. Take those four weeks and be with your lady (so long as Boomer Esiason is okay with that).

Unless …

Robert Mathis knows there’s zero chance of changing his perfectly logical suspension, but took his complaints public anyway, because he wanted to protect his reputation as a beloved, long-time Indianapolis Colt and a pretty good guy, as opposed to being labeled a dirty, dirty drug cheat.

I’m not saying any of that isn’t true, because what do I know? I’m not sure if I’m witnessing a family man paying an unfortunate price for his desire to have a family, or one more performance-enhancer who came up with the best post-test-failure PR strategy yet.


Breaking: Nothing Happens To Johnny Manziel

This AP story, which is literally about nothing remarkable happening, spent all day on the front page of ESPN and various other sports websites. The takeaway: Johnny Manziel attended Browns minicamp, where a Browns minicamp took place.

Browns GM Mike Pettine spoke to the media afterwards.

“It was a little ragged across the board when you're bringing in guys and it's new to all of them. I thought he did a good job handling himself in the huddle and making the call and the pre-snap communication, knowing where to go with the ball.”

So it was like every other minicamp in the history of the NFL. Noted.

Anything to say on the subject of the competition between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, Mike?

"I don't know if they're going to be sending each other Christmas cards anytime soon."

My prediction: December, at the earliest.

I’m just trying to get myself used to this. The coverage of Johnny Manziel is going to be Tebow-ian in volume and inanity, only kept more interesting by Johnny’s placement on the opposite end of the Christian-values scale.

Where he places relative to Tebow on the Actual Quarterbacking Ability scale remains to be seen, if you aren’t able to draw any conclusions on Johnny’s career from today’s scintillating report.


The NFL’s Proposed New 15-Yard N-Word Penalty: Are We Sure We Want This?


This is a scenario we're looking at on NFL Sundays:

One young black man calls another young black man a word that is racially charged, but in a certain culture with a certain usage, is commonplace and acceptable. Overhearing this is a white man in his 60s ‒ a man who has absolutely nothing to do with those cultures ‒ who then tells the young black men that they're not allowed to call each other that, and punishes the offending black man with a penalty of 15 yards.

And if it escalates? If a player does it more than once, are we going to get to a point where he then has to give the NFL money?

Is everyone comfortable with that? Because I'm not.

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